As vampires from all over the world descend on the Drake farm for the Blood Moon gathering, security is ramped up. Lucy has been temporarily banned, for her own safety—and to allow Solange some time to adjust to her new existence. But their enemies realize how much Lucy means to the family, and plan to abduct her to use her for leverage against the new royal family. Instead, Lucy’s cousin Christabel is kidnapped by mistake—and Connor Drake immediately heads off in pursuit, but isn’t in time to prevent Christabel’s infection by the Hel Blar. He can’t save her human life, but he can still try to save her new vampire life, and is willing to put his own life on the line for the girl he has grown to care so much about. Can he save Christabel, the Blood Moon, and his mother’s newly forged Vampire Alliance?
The Drakes are back in the fourth installment of Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles and this newest addition to the series is just as amazing as its predecessors. The story is told from the alternating points of view of Lucy, Connor, and Lucy’s cousin, Christabel. Since Solange’s bloodchange, Lucy hasn’t seen much of her best friend. While she feels abandoned by Solange, Lucy manages to fill her time by training with Hunter at Helios-Ra, snuggling up to swoon-worthy boyfriend Nicholas Drake, and hanging out with Christa, who’s come to live with Lucy’s family for a year. Everyone’s telling Lucy that Solange just needs time, but it seems the more time and space Lucy gives her friend, the weirder Sol becomes. Something is definitely wrong with her, but no one knows what.
Meanwhile, Christabel is trying to come to grips with moving from the bustling New York City to the farmlands of Violet Hill. She’s suspicious of the curfew her aunt and uncle impose due to a rise in “gang activity.” But she has to admit, something seems off about Violet Hill and Lucy and the Drakes are definitely hiding something. Before she can figure out what’s going on, she’s mistakenly kidnapped by vampires that look and smell kind of like the Hel-Blar, but act kind of…normal. When everyone realizes Christa is missing, Connor Drake takes it upon himself to rescue Lucy’s poetry-reciting, book-loving, bad-ass cousin. But the rescue mission doesn’t go exactly as planned, as Christa’s captors have some surprising advantages, like an army of oddly obedient Hel-Blar at their disposal.
Yes, this book has a lot going on. And it’s wonderful. The main plot revolves around the Hel-Blar — who they’re suddenly afraid of and why certain blue-skinned vampires seem to have more control than others. The twists are surprising and completely unpredictable, which is impressive given that this is the fourth book in the series. Somehow, Harvey is able to pile on twist after innovative twist, ascertaining that Bleeding Hearts is just as fresh and exciting as the first three books in the series.
And while I LOVE the world Harvey’s created — Violet Hill, the Helios-Ra, the Hel-Blar — I love her character’s even more. There are so, so many characters, yet Harvey makes sure that each one has a distinctive voice and personality. The Drake brothers are as delicious as ever. Personally, my heart will always belong to Quinn (and Nicholas holds a close second-place), but Connor is absolutely adorable. I love that Christa’s afraid Connor isn’t enough of a bad boy for her and that Connor hates everyone’s preconceived expectations of him as a socially awkward computer/sci-fi nerd. Sure, he’s not as smooth as his twin, but neither is he shy or easily intimidated. Which is good for him, because Christabel can definitely be intimidating. She might come across as a quiet bookworm at first, but she’s certainly formidable when crossed. The way she quotes poetry throughout Bleeding Hearts is a heartwarming quirk that’ll having book-lovers instantly falling in love with her character and relating to her.
While Quinn might be my favorite Drake, Lucy is easily my favorite character of the entire series. Bleeding Hearts continues to prove that Lucy can take anything that’s thrown at her with a sarcastic comment and a swift punch to the nose. I give her major props for being able to confront her best friend about how un-best-friend-like she’s acting. Plus, she’s taking major steps to make sure she’s not just the defenseless little human hanging around with the vampires. Give this girl a crossbow and she’s all set. It’s impossible not to love her stubbornness, fierce determination and loyalty, and her wicked sense of humor. Harvey made an excellent decision in using Lucy as a constant to connect each book in the series. She’s likable, admirable, and when her vulnerable side comes out around Nicholas, my cheeks turn just as pink as Lucy’s. Lucy and Nicholas are seriously one of my favorite couples of all time.
My only problem is that I now have to wait another year for the fifth book in the series. And believe me, after reading the final page of Bleeding Hearts, the wait will be absolutely agonizing. But in the mean time, there’s always Out for Blood to reread (seriously, I can’t get enough of Quinn).
Publication Date: December 2012 (US)
Publisher: Walker Books
Rating [rating: 4]
Teaser Quote: “Okay, yes, I have watched every episode of every Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate ever created, but I have never owned a Star Trek T-shirt. Just saying.“